NHRA is this year pushing its “Nitro Generation” marketing, but Australia has its own generations of drag racers whose offspring is following on in their passion for the sport - in this case it's someone more of the "Methanol Generation".
Cheyne Phillips is the son of Gary and Debbie Phillips, Gary being one of Australia’s most successful drag racers, who competes in Top Doorslammer and Top Alcohol with his Lucas Oils team. Unlike kids like Andrew Cowin or Ben Bray, Cheyne is perhaps taking a more gradual journey to the hot seat as he learns the trade when it comes to tuning and concentrating on academic pursuits.
“I have recently graduated from the University of Southern Queensland with two degrees in Business and Commerce and three majors in Finance, Accounting & Management – this took me four years full-time to complete while still racing full time (with dad and mum),” he said. “I am currently in the job market looking for something in the finance sector.
“My duties are varied on the cars – at home I do the clutch, bottom end of the motor, disassembly and assembly of the motor, transmissions and tyres plus anything else that needs doing.
“At the track depending on the amount of crew we have I do the clutch, but I always do the bottom end, data analysis, fuel system and make tuning decisions with dad.”
The cliché is that the family that plays together stays together and Cheyne agrees.
“(Drag racing) is everything to me; I think that drag racing brings us much closer,” he said. “It’s great to be able to work with the family.”
The family has been doing a lot more touring with the Slamfest series. Gary in fact took out the most recent round in Darwin.
“It’s a great idea to take the Doorslammers to regional areas which do not normally see Group 1 racing,” he said. “The concept is a great way to promote the sport and is a whole lot of fun. The Slamfest races have a much more relaxed feel to it (partly to do with the regional atmosphere), and the one day race schedule is a lot less taxing on the whole operation.”
Cheyne does want to drive, but it’s going to be a case of doing it on his own merits first.
“My ultimate goal is to drive and tune my own car,” he said. “Funny Cars all the way, I love Top Alcohol! Other than Top Doorslammers nothing really else takes my fancy.”